Nowadays, a larger number of aggressive and corrosive chemical reagents as well as toxic solvents are used to achieve structural modification and cleaning of the final products. These lead to the production of residual, waste chemicals, which are often reactive, cancerogenic, and toxic to the environment. This study shows a new approach to the modification of graphene quantum dots (GQDs) using gamma irradiation where the usage of reagents was avoided. We achieved the incorporation of S and N atoms in the GQD structure by selecting an aqueous solution of L-cysteine as an irradiation medium. GQDs were exposed to gamma-irradiation at doses of 25, 50 and 200 kGy. After irradiation, the optical, structural, and morphological properties, as well as the possibility of their use as an agent in bioimaging and photodynamic therapy, were studied. We measured an enhanced quantum yield of photoluminescence with the highest dose of 25 kGy (21.60%). Both S- and N-functional groups were detected in all gamma-irradiated GQDs: amino, amide, thiol, and thione. Spin trap electron paramagnetic resonance showed that GQDs irradiated with 25 kGy can generate singlet oxygen upon illumination. Bioimaging on HeLa cells showed the best visibility for cells treated with GQDs irradiated with 25 kGy, while cytotoxicity was not detected after treatment of HeLa cells with gamma-irradiated GQDs.
|Numero di pagine||18|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2021|